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Coney Island is a small water park located on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio, approximately 10 miles (16 km) east of the downtown area in Anderson Township. Beginning in 1870, the original owner called the area Parker's Grove, which was later renamed Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West after the Ohio Grove Corporation purchased the park in 1886. The name was shortened to Coney Island the following season. Growth over the years spawned dozens of rides and attractions which led to its popularity as an amusement destination.

Coney Island
LocationCincinnati, Ohio, United States
Coordinates39°03′15″N 84°25′12″W / 39.054268°N 84.420040°W / 39.054268; -84.420040Coordinates: 39°03′15″N 84°25′12″W / 39.054268°N 84.420040°W / 39.054268; -84.420040
OwnerBrenda Walker
Previous namesParker's Grove (1870-1885)
Grove Park, The Coney Island of the West (1886)
Coney Island (1887-1975)
Old Coney (1976-1985)
Coney Island (1985-)
Operating seasonMay through October
WebsiteConey Island Web Site

Coney Island was sold to Taft Broadcasting in 1969 with intentions to move the park to a new, larger destination away from frequent flooding. The new park opened as Kings Island in 1972, although Coney Island's Sunlite Pool remained opened. Rides eventually returned, and additional investments and improvements were made to the Sunlite Pool area. These changes, along with the opening of the nearby Riverbend Music Center in 1984, allowed the park's attendance and profitability to recover. In 2019, Coney Island announced plans to remove all amusement rides with intentions to focus exclusively on its water park amenities.


Coney Island's founding dates back to 1867 when apple-farmer James Parker purchased 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land along the shores of the Ohio River. Parker soon realized the popularity of the farm's location, and that renting it out was more profitable than his apple orchard. He named it Parker's Grove and eventually added a dining hall, dancing hall, and bowling alley. He later sold the land in 1886 for $17,500 to a company called Ohio Grove Corporation headed by two steamboat captains. For the opening on June 21, 1886, the name was officially changed to "Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West" in an effort to link the park with the famous New York destination. With its riverfront location, the riverboat became the most popular method of transportation for park visitors. In 1887, "Ohio Grove" was completely dropped from the name as the park became known simply as "Coney Island".[1]

Moonlite Gardens at Coney Island

Over the years, Coney Island became a full-fledged amusement park, complete with rides and carnival games. In that capacity, Coney Island was a Cincinnati institution. However, the park's proximity to the river made it prone to frequent flooding. In 1968, park management entered into talks with Taft Broadcasting for the purpose of developing a new park on higher ground. Taft responded by buying Coney Island outright in 1969, and construction began the following year on a new site located in Deerfield Township of Warren County 25 miles (40 km) north of Cincinnati along Interstate 71. Coney Island closed its amusements on September 6, 1971, as most of its rides were moved to the newly completed Kings Island theme park.

After Kings Island opened in 1972, Taft Broadcasting intended to sell Coney Island's land for redevelopment. However, with the company's decision to open another theme park in Virginia (Kings Dominion) and its acquisition of Carowinds on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, the property's redevelopment became a low priority. Less than two years after closing, Coney Island reopened permanently in 1973. The park was only a shadow of its former self but still featured several popular attractions. The Sunlite Pool — still the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world[2] — was one of those attractions that helped Coney Island remain a popular summertime destination.

The park donated 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land for the construction of Riverbend Music Center which opened in 1984. The land was the former location of the Wildcat and Shooting Star roller coasters. The Riverbend amphitheater serves as the summer home of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, as well as a concert venue for other musical acts. In 1991, Coney Island was purchased by Cincinnati businessman Ronald Walker. No longer held back by a corporate entity, management has been able to restore Coney Island as a traditional amusement park with familiar rides such as the "Tilt-A-Whirl", bumper cars, carnival games and musical shows.[3]

Coney Island announced plans to remove all amusement rides from the park on September 21, 2019, but will continue to operate as a water park featuring the Sunlite Pool and other water-related attractions.[4] The decision was based on attendance, consumer feedback, and rising costs associated with maintaining ride operation.[5][6]

Sunlite Water Adventure Slides and AttractionsEdit

Ride Year Opened Description
The Twister 2009 The Twister is the replacement of the Zoom Flume. The Twister is a four-slide attraction. Two are body slides, and the other two are double or single tubes. They are not fully enclosed. They end in a four-foot pool.
Cannonball Cove 2019 It is three-foot diving boards or cannonball on a single-pool section near the main Sunlite Water Adventure main pool and Twister and this attraction replaced the Pipeline Plunge. In addition, the diving boards were located in the Sunlite Water Adventure main pool since they opened in the 20th century and they were relocated to the former Pipeline Plunge site and became Cannonball Cove due to Hamilton County's new rule from last year about Diving Boards being in a pool separate from the main pool.
Cyclone 2006 The Cyclone is a yellow enclosed slide that enters a pool near the deep end. It is four feet deep.
Silver Bullet 1945 This speed slide splashes down right in the heart of Sunlite Pool.

Former attractionsEdit

Former Pipeline Plunge
List of Former Attractions
Name Opened Closed Description
Baby Bumper Boats 1984 2004
Bumper Boats 1990 2013 Replaced by Como Cruisers.
Como Cruisers 2013 2018 Battery-powered boats. Replaced with swan and dragon styled paddle boats.
Trabant 1993 2010 Replaced by Wipeout
Kiddie Circle Freeway 199? 2007 Carousel-car ride relocated from Kings Island.
Spin-A-Ree 1994 2007
Pipeline Plunge 1994 2018 Pipeline Plunge is a dual enclosed innertube slide. It replaced the Zzip. It was revamped during the 2011 season including new floats in which you lie on your stomach while riding down the flumes. It was removed before the 2019 season began and replaced by Cannonball Cove.
Zoom Flume 1977 2008 Zoom Flume, which had wooden supports, was the first of Sunlite Pool's large slides. It was removed at the end of the 2008 season and replaced by The Twister.
Zzip 1984 1993 The Zzip was similar to its successor, the Pipeline Plunge.
unknown 1967 1971 Classic Whip Jr. ride designed by William F. Mangels. Relocated to Kings Island and now known as Linus' Beetle Bugs.
unknown 1969 1971 Miniature carousel-car ride designed by Hampton Amusement Corporation. Relocated to Kings Island and now known as PEANUTS Off-Road Rally.
Log Flume 1968 1971 Log flume ride designed by Arrow Dynamics. Relocated to Kings Island, partially rebuilt for the 2001 season, and now known as Race For Your Life Charlie Brown
Dodgems 19?? 1971 Standard bumper-car attraction, housed in the same structure as Cuddle Up and The Whip.
Monster 1969 1971 Traditional "Spider" ride that spins in three different circles at the same time. While it quickly raises and lowers riders as their cars continue to spin. Relocated to Kings Island and now known as Monster
Scrambler 1968 1971 Traditional amusement-park ride. Three arms spin riders giving them the sensation of almost hitting the wall. Relocated to Kings Island.
Galaxi 1970 1971 An SDC designed "Galaxi" steel roller coaster. Relocated to Kings Island (1972–1978) as Bavarian Beetle.
unknown 19?? 1971 Giant slide. Relocated to Kings Island (1972–1995) as McScrappy's Slide.
Shooting Star 1947 1971 Roller Coaster constructed out of the Clipper.
C.I. & L.C. Railroad 1964 1971 Miniature railway over Lake Como and into the adjoining woods. Manufactured by Chance Rides.
Clipper 1937 1946 A twister wooden roller coaster. Segments of the ride were retained for the construction of Shooting Star.
Wild Cat 1926 1964 Roller coaster
Cuddle Up 19?? 1971 A spinning flat ride manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Relocated to Kings Island.
Rotor 19?? 1971 A stick-to-the-walls spinning flat ride. Relocated to Kings Island.
Flying Scooter 1940 1971 A standard flying-scooters attraction. Relocated to Kings Island (1972–2004) as Flying Eagles. Relocated to Carowinds as "Danny Phantom`s Flyers".
Tumble Bug 1925 1971 A 1920s Harry Traver classic that pulled linked cars around an undulating circular track, similar to Turtle at Kennywood Park. Relocated to Kings Island (1972–1985)
Dip the Dips 1911 1918 Roller coaster
Dip the Dips 2 1918 1925 Roller Coaster, replaced the first Dip the Dips.
Figure 8 19?? 1918 Roller coaster
Greyhound 192? 194? Roller coaster
Little Dipper 19?? 19?? Roller coaster
Sky Rocket 1921 194? Roller coaster. John A Miller design.[7]
Teddy Bear 1935 1971 Junior wooden coaster
Twister 1926 1936 Enclosed roller coaster. Manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company.
Wild Mouse 1958 196? Roller coaster
Sky Ride 1965 1971 A cable-car skyride. Relocated to Kings Island (1972–1979).
Turnpike 1958 19??
Lost River 1928 1971 Mill Chute Ride, formerly Cascades (1928–1940)
Carousel 1926 1971 The classic carousel was built in 1926 and is painted with more than 20,000 sheets of 23-karat (96%) gold and 1,000 sheets of sterling silver and 48 hand-carved wooden horses. It features the Wurlitzer #157 Band Organ. Relocated to Kings Island as Grand Carousel.
Land of Oz boats 19?? 19??
Coney Rockets 19?? 19??
Laff-in-the-Dark 1937 1960 Scary things appear and jump at two-passenger carriages.
TopSpin 2015 2019 SBF Visa Group Midi Dance Party 360.
Python 1999 2019 From Splash Zone Water Park (1996-1999)
Ferris Wheel 1990 2019 Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel; riders Ascend 40 feet (12 m) into the air above Lake Como.
EuroBungy 2010 2019 Bungee Trampoline Attraction; riders are attached to bungee cords and can jump onto a trampoline inside a dome, it is only available on certain days.
Scrambler 1991 2019 Standard Eli Bridge Scrambler.
Tilt-A-Whirl 1992 2019 Standard Tilt-A-Whirl painted green and purple. Relocated from defunct Fantasy Farm park.
Super Round Up 1993 2019 Round Up (ride); mass-produced "Round Up" ride.
Flying Bobs 1994 2019 Matterhorn (ride); Chance "Matterhorn" ride.
Carousel 1998 2019 Merry Go Round consisting of 30 horses and two chariots. Chance Rides model.
Dodgems 2000 2019 Bumper Cars; oval-shaped bumper cars ride with a center island. A one-way sign is posted, although it is not always followed.
Tempest 2001 2019 Grover Watkins Tempest; "A tornado-like whirling dervish that cannot be found anywhere else in the state of Ohio." Relocated from Americana/Lesourdesville Lake Amusement Park.
Giant Slide 2001 2019 Giant Slide or Fun Slide; three-lane, approximately 25 feet (7.6 m)-tall Giant Slide.
Frog Hopper 2003 2019 S&S power Frog Hopper; bouncing spring ride with a frog theme.
Scream Machine 2005 2019 50 feet (15 m)-tall Moser Spring Ride
Rock-O-Plane 2007 2019 Eyerly Rock-O-Plane; originally opened at LeSourdesville Lake in 1949.
River Runner 2008 2019 Pirate Ship (ride); relocated from Wild West World after its closure. Canoe-themed.
Paddle Boats unknown 2019 Pedal Boats; located on Lake Como.
Wipeout 2014 2019 Spinning Lift Ride; opened at Coney Island in 2014, flips riders upside down in circles 20 feet in the air. Built by Moser Rides.


Coney Island serves as the location for several festivals, including Summerfair Arts Festival, the "Cincinnati Celtic World Festival", the Appalachian Festival and the Cincinnati Flower and Farm Fest. Concerts are also held in the Moonlite Gardens area of the park, most notably by Over the Rhine.

Scenes from the old children's TV show The Banana Splits were filmed on location at Coney Island.


  1. ^ "Coney Island History". Archived from the original on 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  2. ^ Felix Winternitz & Sacha DeVroomen Bellman (2007). Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati. Globe Pequot. p. 166. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  3. ^ Jacques, Jr., Charles J., Cincinnati's Coney Island: America's Finest Amusement Park, 2002, Amusement Park Journal (ISBN 0-9614392-7-0)
  4. ^ "JUST IN: Amusement park shutting down all rides for good". WHIO-TV via WCPO. September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Underwood, Brad (September 9, 2019). "Here's why Coney Island is getting rid of all of its rides". WKRC. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  6. ^ Caproni, Erin (September 9, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Here's why Coney Island's rides are going away and what's next for the historic park". Cincinnati Business Courier. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  7. ^ Miller and Baker Inc. 1923 Catalogue (reprint). Natrona Heights, PA: Amusement Park Journal. 1923.

External linksEdit